Namibia promotes children’s rights, participation in legislative process

Namibia’s parliament in partnership with UN agency UNICEF will host 98 children from the country’s 14 regions for the week-long 5th Children’s Parliament program.

The Children’s Parliament aims to promote awareness of children’s rights and strengthen youths’ participation in the legislative process and policy development, said National Assembly spokesperson David Nahogandja in a statement on Friday.

This year’s session, under the theme of “Engaging young people in the legislative process,” runs from Aug. 16 to 23 in Windhoek.

Speaking about the week-long event, the speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, said that the session is a result of many years of re-evaluation and engagement with partners, UNICEF, on how to build on the excellent aims and objectives of the original concept of the Children’s Parliament.

Meanwhile, experts have been invited to present on various fields of interest to the learners and engage the children in a question-and-answer session around various topics, including the issues of children with disabilities and those from marginalized communities.

“Too often, children with disabilities are defined and judged by what they lack rather than what they have,” said the UNICEF representative, Rachel Odede.

According to Odede, one of the experts, Edward Ndopu, a world-renowned and South-Africa-based Namibian social activist, is living testimony of what happens when barriers that exclude and marginalize persons with disabilities are removed.

Children’s Parliament is one of the formalized and critical child participation structures in the country. It was born from the African Children’s Parliamentary Union Initiative which held that Children’s Parliament gave young people a way to “learn by doing”, Nahogandja added.